Generally speaking, the court has a great deal of discretion when deciding to award spousal support.  The court applies a variety of statutory factors to determine what type of support is needed, when support starts, how long it will last and how much will be paid.  

Three different types of spousal support can be awarded: rehabilitative support, reorientation support or permanent support.   Rehabilitative support is money paid by your spouse for you to get job training or attend school. Reorientation support is money paid by your spouse for a short period of time to help you get used to living on less money than when you were married. Typically, money is paid when the division of the property acquired during the marriage does not meet your needs. 
It is extremely rare that a court will award permanent spousal support. Generally, support is paid for a specific purpose or limited amount of time.     Rehabilitative support is paid for the reasonable time it takes you to complete a degree program, usually up to four years.    Reorientation support is paid for a short period of time which depends your particular situation.

Spousal support can be ordered before the divorce is final, after the divorce, or both.  Unlike child support, there are no hard and fast rules when determining spousal support.  This is not to say that the court doesn't have an idea about appropriate minimum and maximum ranges depending on your situation.  

When deciding if reasonable spousal support is needed, the court looks at a variety of variety of statutory factors for both you and your spouse such as the length of marriage, age and health of the divorcing spouses, their employment status and income during the marriage, among other relevant considerations.

Spousal support awards may be awarded in an amount sufficient to enable your spouse to maintain his or her marital lifestyle, and if there is not enough money to allow both you and your spouse to do so, the court will make adjustments so you both can.   The court can also unequally divide the marital property rather than provide spousal support, if both spouse's incomes are low. 

There are a variety of possible options and outcomes when support is at issue.  If you need support from your spouse or are opposing a request, extensive preparation will be needed to cover every type of award possibility. We can help you get prepared.  Call (907) 201-0897.